After Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) said that he didn’t want to sell the Fiat 500e because Fiat was losing money on them, many electric car enthusiasts questioned his intelligence and honesty.
In the USA the Fiat 500 price starts at $16.995, while the Fiat 500e is priced at $31.800 and is only sold in California and Oregon. With a price difference of $14,805 if Fiat can’t sell the electric version with profit it only tells how high is the level of incompetence. They should choose better suppliers for the 24 kWh battery and electric motor…
I think Marchionne wasn’t incompetent, just dishonest. He just wanted to reinforce the myth that electric cars are inherently more costly to build than regular gas cars. So regulators shouldn’t force automakers to built them. But while I think he is dishonest, he knows that electric cars are coming and wants to be prepared for it. Marchionne is the complete opposite of Carlos Ghosn in terms of sincerity, he’s part of the older generations that think that “secret is the soul of business”, the less others know what I know the better… While Carlos Ghosn believes in transparency, what he says is what he believes, this is fundamental to increase trust.
Recently Marchionne changed his speech. This is what he said to the Bloomberg Television:
“I’ve always thought the economic model that supports Tesla is something that Fiat Chrysler could replicate as we have the brand and the vehicles to do it.”
More recently, he told to Automotive News, that he plans to sell a Fiat electric city car in Europe.
Fiat is currently preparing to service its electric cars nationwide in the USA. This might mean that the 2017 Fiat is going to be expanded to more states than California and Oregon. The other possibility is that the company is only preparing to service the upcoming 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan that will arrive later this year.
At the moment there isn’t a confirmation that the 2017 Fiat 500e will be available nationwide in the USA, or even if it’s the electric car that Fiat will start selling in Europe. But that would be great news.
Currently the Fiat 500e has a 24 kWh battery made with 97 Samsung SDI cells. If Fiat decided to start using the new 94 Ah Samsung SDI cells, 97 of them would give a 34,2 kWh battery. The EPA range could be increased from 84 miles (135 km) to 119 miles (192 km). The 83 kW motor could remain the same, is more than enough for the small car. Adding fast charging capability with the CCS standard would also be very welcomed. If Fiat decides to make these upgrades, it’s game on.
I definitely would like to see such improved Fiat 500e arriving Europe, especially since Renault is always delaying the release of the Twingo ZE.
Even in Europe the Italian brand is a walking dead, and it’s a shame, the electric car could be the way to revive Fiat.